Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thanks for Caring

Feeling overwhelmed Chava tried to make a decision as to where to do her food shopping tomorrow. The nearby grocery was a two minute drive away but it didn’t have fresh chicken or the American peanut butter they liked. At the large supermarket there was a special deal on tuna, as well as the other items she needed, but it normally took twenty minutes to get there. Now with all the security checks it might take almost an hour. And once there, well, they’d removed knives from the shelves, but who knew what could happen…

She was exhausted. Coming home from the shiva call that evening had taken two hours, twice as long as it would have taken before the new wave of terror had started. Truthfully, all she wanted to do on her day off tomorrow was stay in bed burrowed under her covers, but the house was practically devoid of food. As she weighed her decision the shrill ring of the phone broke her reverie. A glance at caller ID showed that the call was from America.  Chava's eyes lit up as she anticipated hearing the voice of her sister or cousin or best friend from childhood calling to check up on her. Instead she heard a stranger who identified herself as Shifra Klein.

“I’m from the ‘We Love Israel’ organization. We’re a grassroots group from Skokie and we’re concerned about all the violence in Israel so we’re reaching out to former Chicagoans living there to ask what we can do to help the situation.”

Chava’s jaw dropped. “Uh,” she stammered. “It’s all in Hashem’s hands…” Her voice trailed off uncertainly.

“We know that.” Shifra was so perky. “We’ve taken upon ourselves to pray more, increase our charity donations, and be on the outlook for more acts of kindness to do, but we want to do something more. It’s so frustrating to see all the anti-Israel bias.”

“Yes,” Chava agreed wholeheartedly. “I suggest that you plug into the Israeli press daily and become goodwill ambassadors for Israel. Um, you can tweet and Facebook good articles. Write letters to the editors and your congressman and the state department and even the White House.”

“Let me write these down!”

As Shifra wrote Chava managed to overcome her fatigue and rein in her confidence. Taking a deep breath she took the plunge for her next suggestion.

“Probably the best help you can give is to join us and make aliyah.”

Chava heard a deep sigh through the receiver.

“I was afraid you’d say that, but it’s really complicated. I have an elderly mother with Alzheimer’s and, my best friend’s husband does really important work with teens at risk here, and another good friend is going through chemo…”

“I see,’ Chava said slowly. Although she wanted to suggest that Shifra bring her mother with and tell her there were teens at risk also in Israel and that her friend could have good, free cancer care if she made Aliyah she did not. “You should know,” she said instead. “when things do work out and you are able to move here you’ll be living in the Palace of the King. I’ve lived here for over thirty years and every day I thank Hashem for letting me live here.”

“Even with all the violence?”

“Even with all the violence,” Chava repeated adamantly.

There was a short silence until Shifra cleared her throat.

“Tell me, would it be helpful to send packages to you and others?”

Chava smiled and considered asking for peanut butter but restrained herself.  “You know, during the first Gulf War some synagogue in France sent a box of masking tape, enough for one for each family in our shul. It was a nice, caring gesture but we could all get our own tape to make our sealed room.  I suggest you send packages to our soldiers.”

“Oh!” Shifra exclaimed. “Great idea! We did that last year during Protective Edge.”

“Thanks, it was really appreciated. That battle’s over but the war’s still going on. Sadly, our soldiers are putting their lives on the line daily…”

“We appreciate it.” Shifra’s perky voice had become somber.  “We know they are protecting all of us.”

“Thank you for your appreciation and for caring enough to make this call,” Chava spoke sincerely.

“Oh, we do care,” Shifra said as she hung up.

Feeling energized by the call Chava made a decision. She’d go to the large supermarket the following day. In fact, she’d call Mrs. Stein and ask if she’d want to come with. Even if she didn’t need any groceries it would be good for the old lady to get out of her house for a bit. If the ladies of Skokie were increasing their acts of the kindness, Chava reasoned, it was the least she could do. 



Ariela ben-Eliezer said...

very nice, ester. real and warm. very you.

Batya Medad said...

yep, nice post

Ester said...

Thank you, Ariela and Batya